Getting to Know Gnome Conduit – Intimation

February 22, 2008

by — Posted in Technology

I previously wrote about gnome conduit a couple weeks ago, since then I’ve been actively chasing it in numerous ways.  I have joined the mailing list for it and have become one of the main documentation writers for the end-user side of the party.   I’ve put a lot of work in and discovered some nuances along the way.

This is the first open source I’ve worked on, mostly since I’m not a programmer.   The Commodore Vic-20’s basic with it’s ERROR IN LINE 2340 after 8 hours of typing and then having another error show up after that, etc,etc completely destroyed any programming motivation I may have had.   Scripting I don’t mind since scripts are usually simpler.   There lies the crux of my dilemna.  Python is the back-end power of Conduit.   Python is also almost as much of a scripting language as it is a programming language.   Conduit may be inspiring me to learn more Python.   We shall see.

Since I wasn’t a programmer joining an open source project really seemed kind of foolish to me.   I would be that guy who wears the red shirt to go down on the planet in Star Trek.  Even if I lived, I would still be in the background and unnoticed.   Like I said in my previous post however is that Conduit’s documentation was terrible (and the dev’s admitted as much) .  I have become much better at documenting and tearing through programs and gathering the nuances the best an end-user can.   I have taken this forward and done what I could to help out the Conduit project.

I can probably say with little doubt that I know Conduit as well as if not better any other end-user around (I’m not going to trying to compete against the developers or any programmer that can dissect the code).  I can say that there are still bugs and things that don’t work for me.   The developers are receptive though, but like many other people have lives and can’t  dedicate everything to a project that are not making any money on.   This means they need all the support they can get.   If you are a python programmer and like the ideas of interaction with Web Services and the desktop – get over there.   If you have other skills or help you can bring to the table, they definitely will take it.

Since I’ve been working on the documentation they have had two releases 0.3.7 and 0.3.8 – granted 0.3.8 was a quick release to fix bugs introduced by 03.7, but never the less it was two releases.   They are pushing hard towards 0.4.0 and I’m doing my best to test and verify the little things to help out.  So I guess I’m moving into one of the main end-user testers in this arena.   Maybe I’ll get promoted to head Q&A Engineer and Documentation  Lead in the project.  I’m sure it will be a nice pay jump from nothing to the lucrative marker of nothing.

I’m joking of course, what I want to see is the application I want to use to work the way I want it to.   I could sit back and complain like most average Americans.  I’m sick though of the why should I help when I can make someone else do the work attitude.  If you want something to work the way you want it to get involved.   As long as your not too pushy you won’t get the standard stereotypical answer “program it yourself”.

I have learned through this that if you are a not a programmer there are still things you can contribute to any open source project.  Whether it be documentation or management of modules, there are jobs and areas that can be done to help the community.   People seem to forget that programmers can’t do everything, and time is time.   Time taken away from programming means that less progress is made.   Time focused on programming means that documentation and polishing isn’t a priority.   Because of this anyone can contribute to some extent to an open source project.

Whether it’s one little piece to the overall picture or a lead in a project you can make a difference.  The lead on Conduit, John Stowers,  hasn’t scoffed or attacked me for my ideas in helping conduit.  He’s been receptive and courteous the whole time, though I’m sure some of my questions have driven some of the developers up the wall.  I’ve been busy making their mailing list active.    I can say that compared to alot of projects, the people behind this have true heart and believe in what they are doing and envision the power the application can have.

Now if I could only get my youtube and google contact syncs work…..

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